Tasha’s Cauldron of Every part evaluation: Dungeons & Dragons’ newest e book feels a bit skinny

There’s a brand new complement for Dungeons & Dragons, titled Tasha’s Cauldron of Every part. The brand-new content material — together with new subclasses for nearly each class within the sport, expanded guidelines for sidekicks, and a set of in-fiction puzzles — may be very, superb certainly. Nevertheless, the general bundle feels too skinny. Not solely is there a good bit of fabric that’s been reprinted, the much-anticipated modifications to the best way the sport handles race nonetheless depart one thing to be desired.

Tasha’s Cauldron is a part of a sequence of newly styled D&D sourcebooks, which started with Volo’s Information to Monsters in 2016, and in addition contains important volumes like Xanathar’s Information to Every part and Modenkainen’s Tome of Foes. Each is narrated by way of marginal annotations from well-known characters within the lore of D&D, with the objective of creating them extra readable for gamers and non-players alike. This time round, the voice of Tasha feels a bit misplaced, as if a time traveler has returned to the Forgotten Realms with some spicy tweets to share. Finally, the marginalia didn’t detract from the opposite good bits inside.

Essentially the most attention-grabbing part for gamers is available in chapter one, which incorporates new subclasses for just about everybody — artificers, barbarians, bards, clerics, druids, fighters, monks, paladins, rangers, rogues, sorcerers, warlocks, and wizards. It additionally features a full reprint of the artificer class, which made its first look in Eberron: Rising from the Final Warfare in 2019.

Whereas I’d have appreciated extra choices for the artificer (which I’ll be taking part in for the primary time in my house marketing campaign), the opposite choices on supply are distinctive. Multiclassing — taking up two or extra lessons to customise a personality — has all the time been a limitation in trendy D&D. A number of of those new subclasses appear to combine multiclassing into the construction of the character lessons themselves, which each streamlines and accelerates the method of gaining ranges and energy. Nonetheless others really feel like in-fiction riffs on Marvel superheroes, which is a enjoyable addition to the lore. All the part contains many great additions to the sport, and is required studying for my part for anybody rolling up a brand new character.

A pale beige cover, featuring Tasha casting spells over a bony cauldron.

Picture: Wylie Beckert/Wizards of the Coast

Chapter two is a boon for Dungeon Masters scrounging for story hooks. It introduces concepts for patrons that the adventuring social gathering may work for, and in flip gives everybody on the desk with alternatives for glory and intrigue over the course of a number of campaigns. If you happen to had been looking for a solution to transition from a setting like Waterdeep, as an example, to the Underdark or the frozen plains of Icewind Dale, then patrons may very well be simply the factor.

Along with tons of latest spells and magic objects — de rigueur for any new splatbook lately — there’s additionally a hefty new part particularly for DMs. Right here’s the place the actually good things is, for my part.

First up is a bit on Session Zero, which is the place these working the sport have the chance to sit down down with their gamers and focus on the social contract that can exist between all of them in the course of the sport. It covers matters similar to “traces and veils” in addition to setting expectations for good habits. It’s just a few pages lengthy, however it’s one of many higher discussions of the subject that I’ve ever seen in a mainstream role-playing sport. Writer Wizards of the Coast ought to do what it may well to ensure this actual content material makes its approach into each the present fifth version of the Participant’s Handbook and the Dungeon Grasp’s Information — and in addition make it freely obtainable on-line with all of its different introductory supplies that it provides for brand spanking new gamers.

Subsequent up is a newly expanded algorithm for sidekicks. These demi-players made their first look within the Dungeons & Dragons Necessities Equipment, and serve a variety of completely different features on the desk. My group will likely be utilizing them to flesh out our small social gathering of three gamers with a fourth character. That may give us a number of extra hit factors and a devoted healer, which ought to cut back the DM’s want to change encounters which can be historically designed for between 4 and 5 gamers.

However, as Tasha’s Cauldron makes point out of, sidekicks are additionally the right entree for brand spanking new gamers who want to journey together with their mates and be engaged in an present marketing campaign to see what D&D is all about. There are three completely different lessons of sidekick included, plus guidelines for leveling them up — one thing absent from the Necessities Equipment.

Lastly, there’s a useful part behind the e book stuffed with puzzles. It even contains intelligent hints you may give your gamers in the event that they get caught, and handouts to supply a visible aspect on the desk.

My solely actual disappointment with the e book is the best way wherein it handles non-compulsory guidelines for coping with the idea of race. Earlier this 12 months the writer admitted that it had made missteps involving its portrayal of race prior to now, and vowed to make modifications to the construction of D&D to make it extra welcoming and extra versatile. These modifications, as detailed in Tasha’s Cauldron, are extraordinarily weak. The steering is, roughly, to disregard the foundations for character creation and simply do what feels proper. That’s good recommendation for each participant and each DM whatever the state of affairs, however it falls properly in need of establishing a progressive new precedent for the unique role-playing sport.

General, Tasha’s Cauldron of Every part is a good useful resource for everybody on the desk, it’s simply not as dense and full-featured because the dietary supplements which have come earlier than. You’ll be able to order the e book proper now at your pleasant native sport retailer (the place you’ll have entry to a beautiful alternate cowl) and on Amazon. It is going to be obtainable at retail beginning Nov. 17, and obtainable digitally for a number of platforms together with D&D Past, Fantasy Grounds, and Roll20.

Correction: An earlier model of this story neglected the addition of a brand new subclass for the artificer. We’ve up to date this story to right that.

Tasha’s Cauldron of Every part will likely be launched on Nov. 17. The e book was reviewed utilizing a closing retail copy offered by Wizards of the Coast. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media could earn commissions for merchandise bought by way of affiliate hyperlinks. You’ll find extra details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.


Tasha’s Cauldron of Every part

Costs taken at time of publishing.

This new Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook contains extra subclasses for nearly each character class within the sport. There’s additionally improved guidelines for sidekicks, and many new instruments for Dungeons Masters.

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media could earn commissions for merchandise bought by way of affiliate hyperlinks. For extra info, see our ethics coverage.

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